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and sadly, just like the last two nights, we begin again here with what's becoming epidemic levels of flu around this country. the numbers went up today, in some cases outpacing efforts to contain it. 47 of our 50 states now report widespread influenza activity. that's according to the cdc. that's three more states from just midweek this week. two more children have died from it, bringing the death toll just among children to 20 now. many doctors are reporting this year's illness is definitely more severe. and just like clockwork, here come the questions, and doubts about how effective this year's flu shot is at stopping it. our chief medical editor, dr. nancy snyderman, is here with us, just back from her tour of four hospital emergency rooms in three different states over four days. nancy, you've seen it from the front lines. >> i have, brian, and i think this is the time we get to address the numbers the federal government is reporting, and, in fact, what the states are doing. and it's the states that are really tracking this epidemic
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and the growing number of cases and deaths. and every day it's the doctors in offices, in local emergency departments, where the real story can be found. from the moment patients enter the emergency department at the hospital of the university of pennsylvania, precautions against the flu are everywhere. >> i want them to put a mask on, i want them to get some purell on their hands. i want to give them a tissue. >> reporter: masks, hand sanitizer, warnings, and lots of cleaning are all ways hospitals across the country are protecting their patients and staff against what is a very bad flu season. >> we have so many patients. >> dr. jill barron runs u-penn's emergency department. are you seeing a lot of influenza at penn? >> we are seeing a huge rise in our cases of influence. we don't want to get anybody else sick. >> reporter: 29-year-old kiana lunde allen didn't think she would get it, and now she feels miserable. did you get your flu shot? >> no, i didn't. >> reporter: and why didn't you get a flu shot? >> i really don't know. i don't usually get them. i make sure my children got them.
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but now i have the flu. >> reporter: the disease is widespread in 47 states. up since last week. and it's making headlines across the country. interest is high. the blue dots on this map show an increase in the number of google searches for the word "flu" from mid september to earlier this month. it's so bad, the archdiocese of boston wants parishioners to bow instead of shaking hands and they're suspending communion wine service. in new york and other big cities, transit agents are warning passengers to get vaccinated, wash hands and cover coughs. >> customers are reminded to wash with soap and water. >> reporter: in chicago, daycare centers are encouraging kids to keep extra clean. but that's not enough. while vaccinations are vital for preventing this spread of the disease, americans still have a lot of questions. >> is there enough flu vaccine available? >> reporter: the cdc says yes. though some doctors may have to order more. call ahead to your health care provider. even if you have never had the
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flu, get vaccinated. >> can i get the flu if i have a shot? >> yes. but the vaccine is a good match for this year's most aggressive strain of virus. you can still get sick, but it likely won't be as bad. experts agree, the vaccine is still the most effective way to prevent the flu. the centers for disease control has been tracking this flu vaccine and the flu since early september and today said this vaccine is 62% effective. the number may sound low, but it really means that in 62% of cases, you're less likely to get the flu and if you do get a strain, brian, it's less likely to be severe. >> i am worried about this. i woke up to reports of this number. it can de-incentivize people to get the flu shot which all of you are saying is so important. >> and i have the same concern when you see 62%, because i'm afraid people will say well, it's half and half. but remember, if you have a 62% chance -- less chance of getting
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the flu, it means less chance of being on antibiotics, less chance of ending up in an intensive care unit, and as we have seen from these uptick in numbers, 62% less chance of dying. this isn't over. i don't think we're at the 50 yard line yet. we still have a long time until march and april so i would urge people, disregard that, and remember, two out of three times, you're ahead of the game. >> we're trying to be very cautious here in our tight spaces. nancy snyderman, thank you, as always. now to our weather. and as we said, this won't help. it's one of those really unusual days where things seem upside down. it was 20 degrees colder today in san diego than it was in chicago. we have a live look tonight at the university of north dakota and grand forks. that will get your attention. there are more than 12,000 fans expected to attend a hockey game there tonight. they may have a tough time getting there because a blizzard warning is in effect. just one area where travel will be dangerous, just as we all head into the weekend. our report tonight from nbc's miguel almaguer. >> reporter: pounded by snow and sleet, this weekend, much of utah is under a winter storm
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warning. >> when i started shoveling, it came up to my knees. >> reporter: with another 10 inches forecasted, tracy's backyard is under 2 feet of snow. >> this is crazy. we've never seen this much snow before. >> reporter: before the morning commute was even over, more than 80 accidents brought utah to a standstill. >> be safe out there, roads are a mess. >> reporter: for truckers headed cross-country, a treacherous journey. >> just kind of slid into the side, yeah. and then some nice people were stopped and helped me. >> reporter: in southern california, interstate 5, the grapevine, finally reopened after a 16-hour shutdown. this 40-mile stretch could again close tonight. >> it's not like the california i grew up with. i grew up in san diego, and it's always warm down there. >> reporter: but in san diego, the temperature was a frigid 35, colder than chicago, 55. in central california, 75% of the citrus crop is still on the
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tree, where frost threatens to damage the $1.5 billion harvest. >> it's going to get cold but probably 27, 28 tonight is my guess. >> reporter: in louisiana, a foot of rain and tornadoes. one twister damaging 50 homes. as storms move east, the lucky ones today are in florida. record highs were close to 90. back here in los angeles, don't let the blue skies fool you. it is frigid, windy and forecasters say this weekend it's going to get even colder. brian? >> miguel almaguer in sunny southern california, thanks. things must be bad out there, because here he comes, our friend, weather channel meteorologist, jim cantore, in the weather center. jim, what's going on out there? >> yeah, we got an extreme pattern. it doesn't mean one area is getting extreme weather, it means the whole nation is dealing with those extremes. let's talk about when it may change as we go through the next seven days. we're talking about very cold temperatures, hard freeze
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warnings for los angeles, las vegas, san diego, phoenix, salt lake city getting hammered with snow. the high plains a blizzard where we've had all-time records in january set in florida and another one in quincy, illinois. that will start to transition, though, as we get into the midweek. another heavy rain event for louisiana, already reeling from a foot of rain this week. and by next weekend, it looks like the very cold air makes its way to the east coast. but this sharp transition is probably not a good thing for a nation that's facing 47 states with widespread flu. >> i was going to say, these extremes don't let people deal with illness. jim cantore, thank you. have a good weekend. and now to a critical day in this nation's longest war. it's been over 11 years since the first u.s. troops arrived on the ground in afghanistan. today that nation's president joined president obama to discuss how we get out and when. our chief white house correspondent, kristen welker, was there and is with us tonight. kristen, good evening. >> brian, good evening. it's no secret the relationship between presidents obama and
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karzai has been tense, but today the leaders announced they had reached some common ground while also acknowledging the end game remains unclear. president obama and afghan president hamid karzai announced a somewhat accelerated time line for u.s. troops to transfer control to the afghan forces, initially slated to occur this summer. >> starting this spring, our troops will have a different mission. training, advising, assisting afghan forces. >> reporter: the president delivered a blunt assessment of the mission. for the 66,000 americans who will still provide logistic support, transportation, and air cover. >> that doesn't mean that coalition forces, including u.s. forces, are no longer fighting. they will still be fighting alongside afghan troops. >> reporter: left unsaid today, how many american troops, if any, will remain after 2014? the official end of the combat mission.
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>> i can't give you a precise number at this point. i'll probably make a separate announcement once i've gotten recommendations from the generals and our commanders. >> reporter: president karzai had signaled he wanted a robust troop presence. today he hedged. >> numbers are not going to make a difference to the situation in afghanistan. it's the broader relationship that will make a difference to afghanistan, and beyond, in the region. >> reporter: the relationship between the two nations has be tense, with the afghan leaders accusing the u.s. of killing civilians, and encroaching on their sovereignty. and with some in the u.s. charging karzai's government with fraud and failure to prevent afghan forces from killing americans. but today, a public show of unity. >> as afghans stand up, they will not stand alone. the united states and the world stands with them. >> reporter: now, military experts say any troop presence beyond 2014 will be aimed at keeping the taliban in check, and also dealing with strategic
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challenges from neighboring pakistan. president obama said he will announce exactly what he plans to do in the coming months. brian. >> white house correspondent kristen welker from the north lawn on a friday night. kristen, thanks. one more note from that meeting at the white house today. president obama announced the newest recipient of the medal of honor, this nation's highest military decoration for valor. it will be awarded next month to now-retired army staff sergeant clinton romesha from north dakota for his courageous actions while serving as a section leader back in '09. he will be the fourth living recipient awarded the medal of honor for actions in either iraq or afghanistan. now to the skies. it's been a rough week for boeing its new state-of-the-art 787 dreamliner, ending today with federal officials announcing a top to bottom review of the aircraft. this after a series of what appear to be unrelated incidents that have embarrassed the company and raised concerns about safety along the way. tom costello covers aviation for us.
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he's with us from dulles airport outside washington. tom, good evening. >> reporter: hi, brian. in fact, the faa chief and secretary of transportation both say they believe this plane is safe, and yet they have ordered this thorough review of the plane of its mechanical system, power system, electrical system, battery system, after these seemingly unrelated events. we had another one just this morning in japan, an al nippon airline 787 developed a crack in a cockpit windshield. tuesday, a japan airlines 787 had a fuel leak minutes before takeoff. on monday, a fire in the belly of a parked 787, traced to the lithium ion batteries in this brand-new plane. last month, a united 787 made an emergency landing in new orleans after an electrical panel problem, and they had a similar problem on a qatar airlines plane. and two years ago, there was a fire on a test flight 787. boeing modified the plane after that. boeing insists, these are unrelated incidents, and most analysts say they are nothing more than teething problems for
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this new state-of-the-art plane. but it is embarrassing for boeing. of course, this is a huge employer in the country, and they have already sold 850 of these planes. they want to sell 5,000 over the next 20 years, brian. >> and tom, assuming they stay in the air for this process, as folks see 787 on their reservation printout, how should the flying public feel about it? >> reporter: every analyst i've talked to, every cockpit pilot, says they believe this plane is safe. this is just something that happens when you roll out a brand-new plane that you've really designed from scratch. >> all right, tom costello, dulles airport, outside dc. tom, thanks. still ahead as we continue on a friday night, how about arming teachers in the classroom. how do parents feel about that as a protection in the post newtown era? and later, critical mass over the new portrait of a princess. we'll have the harsh reaction and proof this isn't the first time a depiction on canvas hasn't gone over so well.
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a colorado judge today delayed the formal arraignment of accused movie theater gunman james holmes for two months over the objections of prosecutors and some very angry families of the victims. the delay came at the request of holmes' defense lawyers who said they wouldn't be ready until march. all across the country, state and local governments and school districts are wrestling what to do regarding safe schools in our post newtown era. in ohio, one community has approved a measure to let school custodians carry handguns. late today, lieutenant governor of texas called for state-funded weapons training for teachers. nbc's janet shamlian has our report from houston. >> reporter: it's not usually part of a teacher's training. but in recent weeks, educators have been flocking to new classes in gun training and concealed weapons courses. >> i'm thinking this would be a great opportunity to be able to protect the children, protect the other classrooms, protect the teachers. >> reporter: as the gun debate dominates the national
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conversation, many teachers are learning the abcs of pulling the trigger. and since sandy hook, the training has been offered to many of them for free. but weapons in the classroom? parents have mixed feelings. >> i think putting guns that close to children presents a risk in itself. >> i actually like the idea. i think it's better to be safe and cautious. >> reporter: instead of arming teachers, some courses are showing them how to disarm a gunman. trainers in san antonio are staging mock attacks, a simulated scenario to prepare for what's become a reality of the workplace. >> i would never expect this to happen where i work. but, you know, it's better to have something than nothing. >> reporter: elsewhere in texas, two concealed handgun classes graduated 460 teachers. 1,100 signed up for a three-day gun course in ohio. 200 took the instruction in utah. >> and you may be able to pick a chair up and do what you need to do. >> reporter: and in a suburban atlanta high school, teachers now have a security plan that includes barricading the door,
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hiding students, cutting the lights and keeping silent in hopes an intruder would pass by. >> there should be some hallowed ground in our society, and it's unfortunate that there isn't. but at the same time, i feel reassured that with evil in the world, we're doing the best that we can. >> reporter: for jennifer santi and other educators, the realization that teachers these days might have include a whole new lesson plan. janet shamlian, nbc news, houston. we are back in a moment with the end of an era for a big name in the movies.
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you're looking at a view of the moon like we've never really seen it before, courtesy of nasa's grail spacecraft program. its mission was to map the lunar gravity field. it also had an educational component, allowing school children to pick out places to explore. astronaut sally ride championed that idea before her death last summer. last month, the whole thing came
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crashing to an end on the surface, as planned. but luckily, what it saw and recorded on the way down, these great pictures, survived the journey. we learned today the u.s. senate is losing one of its most senior members, and it's the end of an era, at least for now, in a big name in american politics. democratic senator jay rockefeller of west virginia says he will not run for a sixth term in congress when his term expires. that's in 2014. by the way, a rockefeller has held a major office in america since 1974, and every year but one since 1959. in unromantic hollywood news, grauman's chinese theater opened by sid grauman in 1927 and one of the staple stops in a first time tour in hollywood has sold its naming rights and will now be the tcl chinese theater, taking the name of a chinese television manufacturer instead. it was declared a hollywood
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landmark, 30 years ago, instantly recognizable for the giant pagoda, the dragon and foot and handprints of all of the stars out front. but it's part of a new renaming trend that one observer today compared to the college football tostitos fiesta bowl. and it's bad enough that ben affleck didn't get a nomination for "argo." the superb thriller about american hostages in iran. now iran has a problem with "argo" and are putting their best director on it, making a counterfilm to put out their side of the story. the working title is "the general staff." the real "argo" walked away with seven real-life nominations. when we come back, the uproar over a big unveiling today in london.
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finally tonight, there was a big unveiling in london today for the official portrait of kate, the duchess of cambridge. the reviews came in kind of instantly. there were polite comments, but then it took a turn south. and put it this way. and it's not the first time a high profile painted depiction has come under fire. we get the story tonight from nbc's kate snow. >> reporter: she is arguably the most photographed woman in the
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world, flawless in nearly every photo, which may be why so many in britain think this painting with the shadows and lines under her eyes, the half smile, doesn't do justice to the actual duchess. >> the eyes are wrong. i could go on. >> reporter: the duchess viewed the painting this morning. she had two sittings with the artist last year. paul emsley made a portrait of nelson mandela, but specializes in realistic drawings of rhinos and other wildlife. >> what she wanted herself, the portrait could convey her natural as well as, her real self. but portraits can be tricky. this 2001 portrait of the queen had one critic suggesting the artist be locked in the tower. when winston churchill was given this portrait as a gift, he said he looked like a halfwit and told his wife to destroy it after he died. presidents are hard to please too. lbj called his official portrait "the ugliest he had ever seen."
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and one critic quipped, this likeness of bill clinton commissioned for washington's national portrait gallery looked more like ted koppel. >> a good portrait, in my point of view, makes you think that you're sitting in front of the person. >> reporter: new york portrait artist marvin mattelson sells his paintings for as much as $45,000 and agreed to let me sit for a quick 30-minute version. >> you can't please everyone, so there's only two people you want to please. you want to please yourself and you want to please your client. if anyone else is happy, that's a bonus. >> reporter: the duchess, an art history major herself, is said to be thrilled with her portrait. >> i'm done. >> reporter: all right. >> this is the finished study. >> reporter: oh, wow. what i see that you got is you -- the look in my eyes. and in the end, if the duchess likes hers too, that's all that really matters. kate snow, nbc news, new york. >> that's our broadcast on a friday night. and for this week.
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thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. lester holt will be here with you this weekend. we, of course, hope to see you right back here on monday. in the meantime, please have a good weekend. good night. good evening and thanks for being with us on this friday. i'm raj mathai. >> and i'm jessica aguirre. we begin with a developing story out of the east bay. an accident involving two school buses in clayton. the collision happening near the intersection of marsh creek road and diablo lane not the far from diablo middle school. chp says a total of 40 students were onboard the buses when they crashed just after 3:00 this afternoon right after school let out. from our nbc chopper you can see an ambulance parked at the school. officers say they dispatched an ambulance because of fear of injuries. we'll monitor the story and bring you more information as we get it throughout the afternoon.
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following a developing story in the north bay. a body found in a recycling center. you can see a heavy police presence at the indisposal facility in petaluma. crime scene tape has been posted around this recycling center. very few details have been released to us since the body was discovered this afternoon. we'll keep you posted as more information comes in to our newsroom. >> bundle up because we are in for another cold can blast tonight. another live look out of san jose. expect the coldest temperatures you've seen in a long time. those are moving into the bay area right now. i want to show you frosty pictures from the top of hount hamilton. if you thought this morning was chilly, well, you're going to want to get your snuggie out. it will be cold tomorrow morning. chief meteorologist jeff ranieri joins us and, jeff, concerns about a freeze warning? >> that's right. it has been continued as we head throughout saturday morning for temperatures that will go two to three degrees colder in some locations than what we hads

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NBC Nightly News
NBC January 11, 2013 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 7, U.s. 6, Afghanistan 4, San Diego 4, Boeing 4, New York 3, Chicago 3, Nbc News 2, Cdc 2, Jim Cantore 2, Utah 2, Janet Shamlian 2, Obama 2, Kristen Welker 2, Los Angeles 2, Karzai 2, Tom Costello 2, Florida 2, Texas 2, Hollywood 2
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